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DSPCA 'steps away' from fundraiser after concerns raised over impact of NFTs

The animal charity last week launched a fundraising campaign selling “reimagined viral dog memes” as NFTs.

THE DSPCA HAS backed out of a recently announced non-fungible token (NFT) fundraising campaign after facing criticism over the environmental impact of the blockchain-based creations.

The animal charity last week launched its campaign to sell “reimagined viral dog memes” as NFTs – The NwoofFT project – with each one costing some 0.02 Ethereum  (about €54).

“The NwoofFT project was presented to the DSPCA as a fundraising experiment by tapping into a new community of dog lovers,” the DSPCA tweeted this afternoon in response to criticism.

“As a charity our supporters are important to us & have taken on board concerns raised over the impact of NFT’s have decided to step away from this project.”

The project, in collaboration with creative agency Rothco, started off with 11 NFTs for sale, with initial plans to drop further ‘litters’.

NFTs are “one-of-a-kind” digital assets that can be bought and sold like any other item, but which have no tangible form. They vary in price from a few euro to tens of thousands of euro, depending on the asset.

NFTs are supported by Ethereum — an alternative to BitCoin — and their value is held in that cryptocurrency. Transaction information is stored within the Ethereum blockchain, which makes it impossible to forge copies of the token.

A sale does not necessarily involve the transfer of the object depicted by the token. NFTs of famous paintings have been sold, for example, but the buyer does not receive the painting. What changes hands is a certificate of ownership of the NFT, registered on the blockchain. The certificate must be kept safe in a digital wallet, which can take various forms.

However, every interaction with the blockchain involves fees to pay for “mining” – the hugely energy-intensive computer calculations needed to verify each transaction.

The NwoofFT project’s NFTs are bought and sold on the specialised platform OpenSea, the best known of the marketplaces.

The project’s website said it launched on OpenSea “because it has been the standard barrier for the NFT marketplace with the largest audience”.

It acknowledged the energy-intensive process behind the crypto fundraising, saying that other currencies and options that are less impactful on the environment were being explored.

A spokesperson for the project said they would not be commenting at this time.

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